Cuba to ease restrictions on travel

Aug. 2, 2011 at 10:55 AM
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HAVANA, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Cuba will ease migration rules, both for emigres visiting home and Cubans going abroad, state media say.

Speaking to the National Assembly of Peoples' Power Monday, President Raul Castro said the government "is making advances with the reform and elaboration of a series of regulations" that have been in force too long, El Nuevo Herald of Miami reported, citing Havana's official news agencies.

"We take this step as a contribution to the increase in links between the nation and the emigre community, whose makeup has changed radically since the first decades of the revolution," Castro said. "In their overwhelming majority, Cubans today emigrate because of economic reasons, and almost all of them preserve their love for family and country."

For decades, the Communist government has vilified Cubans who leave the island as "counterrevolutionaries" and "worms."

Tens of thousands of people who left illegally or stayed overseas more than 11 months have been barred from returning.

Cubans currently need an exit permit good for only 30 days.

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